I Want to Die a Suffragette


Recently, in one of my history lessons, we started a new topic which was about suffragettes and the movement they created. First of all, when I found out we were doing this subject, I got very excited as I have very strong views about this subject, but it did cross my mind that I would somehow come to a disagreement with someone.

As I sat in my seat in the class, I was careful not to put my hand up too much; I could talk for days about this topic, and I was thinking to myself that I should wait until the moment came when I most wanted to express my views. While carefully choosing what question I should answer and what one I would like to get my word in most about, my teacher (let’s call him Mr.Davis) tells us to write down an answer in our books. Mr.Davis was wandering around the classroom when I decided to call him over. As I do usually get on well with this teacher, I told him what my plan was for when I am older. I said to him, “Sir when I’m older I want to be a social worker from the ages of 21-35, then 35 onwards I want to be a lawyer, then I want to die a suffragette.”

There was a moment of silence as he looked at me strangely, and I suddenly felt awkward, some of the students sitting nearby turned their heads as they had heard what I had said. I explained the suffragette part to him in more detail; maybe he didn’t understand. I said, “I don’t want to be an actual suffragette, I’m aware that movement is over, I just want to die by making a change as the suffragettes did.”

Finally, he replied but not with the response I had anticipated. He said, “Sounds like a terrorist act to me.” And then to make the situation even more frustrating the student sitting next to me agreed with him, then Mr.Davis walked away sniggering. I sat there in my seat, confused by what he meant. I will not back down, and I want to prove my point and have the last word. So I call him over for the second time and before I can even get a word out, he says to me, “I know what you mean, you want to be remembered.”

No, no, no, he doesn’t know what I mean because he doesn’t get the point: I want to make a change that will affect women’s lives for the better. I don’t care about being remembered; what’s important to me is that I have made an impact on women’s lives. I try to let this go as it was bugging me, but throughout the lesson, I do pick up on other traits that show he is not on the same page as me. Another student raised the fact that a suffragette had slashed a painting to get people to notice her, Mr. Davis wrote on the board; VANDALISM.

Wait a second. How is that vandalism? Maybe it is classified as vandalism, but that is not the point. She slashed the painting so rich white men, high on their horses, would pay attention to her protest, not so some history teacher many years later in the 21st century would accuse her of vandalism.

To conclude, this isn’t a rant about that teacher. He’s a decent human being and wouldn’t have intended to upset me. He just needs someone like me to give him a reality check, every now and then.


“No Known Restrictions: Suffrage Parade from the Bain Collection, 1913 (LOC)”by pingnews.com is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

Saoirse Staff

Saoirse Staff is 13 years old. She attends secondary school in Northampton, England and loves drama and art. She has always had passionate views about feminism and equality since a young age. She has just recently started writing pieces about her views. Saoirse has an older brother and a younger sister. She is a middle child and her star sign is Taurus. Her name is Irish for ‘freedom’. And most of the time, she is kind and compassionate, however she can get into heated discussions. In her spare time, Saoirse enjoys dancing (hip hop and ballet), shopping and hanging out with her friends.

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    I was very touched and energized all in the same moment Saoirse. Your future plans for yourself will leave many footprints on your journey. I took pause when I read about your teacher. I envision him at a moment in time reflecting. For me looking into your interaction with him I felt this. Your teacher became the student and you the teacher. Thanks for sharing. So proud of you.

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    There it is! My girl. So uber-proud of you. This is the lesson generations of people were meant to learn – that it’s about equality. Clearly, your teacher (and so many millions of people) of both genders have failed to realize the message. It’s not about vandalism – pft. Oh, my. What a missed opportunity!

    Thank goodness you understand. I have hope.

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